I wasn’t able to go to class on Wednesday, and last Monday there was an influx of people in the studio registering, so I waited until yesterday to ask about which classes I should be taking in the fall.
I wanted to ask Mrs. Alex, since she knows the most about where I am and has taught me quite a bit last semester, but she wasn’t there yet. Ms. Heidi was, so I figured I could ask her opinion. She’d seen me in a few classes this summer, and we’re 364 days apart in age (hah) plus she’s knowledgeable so I figured why not.
She’s teaching the 4s this year, but I didn’t want to tell her that I didn’t want to take that class. I was considering it before, but I think this year it wouldn’t be all that helpful–I’ve grown past it. But my pointework is still lacking, so I wasn’t sure what to do. (hence asking.)
She said, “Do you want my honest opinion?” and hid her head like she does sometimes when she’s being honest. “I think you should take the advanced class.”
I’m pretty sure my eyes bulged at that point as I wondered if there were some other kind of class she was referring to because surely it wasn’t the 6s/advanced that is, ya know, the highest level in the studio.
“We have been talking about you–in terms of dancing and the studio (I laughed, I cause I knew what she meant but it could have sounded funny. hehe.)–and we were wondering why you were limiting yourself to the lower classes all year.”
I asked if she had seen me at the beginning of the year, because Advanced would have been way over my head. Plus my pointe shoe issues, so I told her about all of that and rolling my ankle and winning the fitting contest and how now I can actually dance and life is good. But I’m behind. I can’t do a pirouette.
She suggested simply doing really thorough and consistent theraband exercises and the like. That working on strength will help me just as much as continuous execution, which is what Abby had pointed out in our last private we had before I went to Europe and so we’ve been working on that. She suggested maybe find what level worked for me for pointe, even considering the pre-pointe to get the strength work or doing Adult class on pointe. (which my friend Liz does)
“I think it’ll be good for you to be with the older girls. I think being around them will push you and you’ll rise to it.”
I had felt that I had improved this year, but I didn’t even consider this.
I guess I kept up in summer classes, but I was so beat mentally and emotionally from other things I hadn’t really considered it.
It felt really good hearing Heidi say these things to me. I guess the main voice that remains in my head is the one from the beginning, telling me that I may not be as good as I hope to be yet but I’ll get there one day. The one telling me to just do what I can and I’ll learn it eventually. The one telling me not to dream that big because logically I’m probably still a couple years out from achieving that. And some of that is still true.
Some of that will always be true.
I’ll never be perfect. I’ll never have it all down. I’ll never know everything.
No one ever will.
And this is one of my favorite parallels to life.
No matter how much we learn and how much we know, there’s always more to learn.
There are always places to improve and grow. There are always new perspectives and improvements to be made. And when you know all the depths of the world of ballet, you can always improve. There is always something to work on. And when you master it, you’ll find something else.
We will never be perfect, but perfect isn’t the point.
That’s why we keep coming to class.
Mrs. Alex got there a little later. I helped her move a table out into the lobby and then asked her what she thought. “I think 5s for sure. You can definitely handle that. And I think you should try the 6s.”
I told her that I can’t do a pirouette, and so I don’t want to drown in the 5s with that. (She’s one of the 5s teachers.) She echoed what Heidi said, to not be hard on myself if I can’t do things perfectly and all crazy good like some of the other kids do. To just do what I need to do to get the most out of class. The pirouette will come. “I think we put you down for 5s as your pointe class and then to take 6s.” She went to check, and that’s what they had done.
This isn’t just the opinion of one person. This isn’t just someone hoping for the best in me and I may or may not rise to it. This is the opinion of the majority of the teachers/principal dancers in the studio/company. This is their opinion of me without strain. Like it isn’t one of the biggest accomplishments of my dance career thus far.
I told Abby and Elizabeth about it, to see what they thought. I know they would tell me straight up if they thought it was biting off more than I could chew or a bit of a stretch, but they were in agreement. Abby said it would particularly be good if my goal was to be a Lilac. I’m really starting to get hopeful that that may be an actual legitimate goal. And with the capability to practice at home now, this could actually happen. I just need to remind myself that those little simple exercises do make a difference, and to not get discouraged when it feels mundane.
To say I was freaking out is an understatement.
It was just the jump I needed to my heart.
The week had started off pretty difficultly and I had considered not even attending class in fear that it would make me feel worse rather than better. The only reason I pushed myself to going was to find out what class I should place in.
We had one of the Advanced teachers for class yesterday. I noticed I was pushing myself harder than usual when my muscles started hurting earlier.
I got a vague “good.” from him, which never happens, so that’s cool. Then he told me I need to point my feet more cause it breaks my line. I responded I guess as a defense which I instantly regretted but he didn’t care I just wish I would have kept my mouth shut. (Darn you short little toes!) So now I want to work on trying harder with that. (The pointing the toes part, that is.)
I’m a little nervous about going into this next year, but also hopeful. Which at the beginning of yesterday there wasn’t much of that so I’m grateful to have it back.
We’ll see where this year takes me!